If you’ve read my book, Waltzing Australia, you’ll know that I visited a Royal Flying Doctor Service office on my first trip to Australia, and also toured the Adelaide House Museum in Alice Springs, which relates a bit of the early history of John Flynn and the RFDS. This post adds some additional information, plus it has a photo of the pedal-operated generator for radio communication that I mention in the book. (It also includes a story that would probably scare most doctors, of how numbering the bottles in the emergency chest can be misinterpreted.)
This is the 200th post to this blog, and it seems appropriate that such a milestone should be marked by talking about a development which has made life in the Outback a practical proposition for the majority of the people who live and work there. Its importance to Outback life cannot be overestimated.
On the 17th May, 1928, a single-engine, fabric-covered biplane took off from Cloncurry in western Queensland to answer a call for medical help – sent by hand-cranked wireless – from the remote town of Julia Creek. What subsequently became the Royal Flying Doctor Service has now been providing a “mantle of safety” for people living and travelling in remote areas of Australia for more than 87 years.
The RFDS currently operates over 60 aircraft, which fly a total of more than 27 million kilometers a year. RFDS medical staff see an average of 800 patients…
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